Dyer, Leigh Richmond (1849–1902)

By: H. Allen Anderson

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: October 3, 2019

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Leigh Richmond Dyer, Panhandle pioneer and rancher, one of eight children of Henry Joel and Suzan (Miller) Dyer, was born in Dyersburg, Tennessee, in 1849. His father, former attorney general for the West District of Tennessee, moved his family in 1854 to Fort Belknap, Texas, and later to Fort Worth, where the elder Dyer resumed his law practice. After the death of both his parents in the mid-1860s, Leigh Dyer and his remaining two brothers were left in the care of their only sister, Molly (see GOODNIGHT, MARY ANN), who taught school at Weatherford. Dyer began working as a drover for Charles Goodnight in 1867 and made several drives over the Goodnight-Loving Trail to Fort Sumner, New Mexico, and beyond. In the fall of 1875, when Goodnight began moving his herd from Colorado to Palo Duro Canyon, Dyer and his brothers Sam and Walter were among the drovers. When winter came, Goodnight left Dyer in charge of the herd. The following year the Dyers helped Goodnight and John George Adair establish the JA Ranch. In 1877 Leigh and Walter Dyer, in partnership with Samuel Coleman, filed on a 320-acre tract in Randall County near the site of present Canyon. Here the Dyers developed a quality herd of shorthorn cows, which they crossbred with registered bulls from the JA. Their brand was DY. In 1878 the Dyer ranch was sold to Jot Gunter, William B. Munson, and John S. Summerfield, as part of a vast spread they had bought. Dyer was hired as range boss by the GMS (later the T Anchor Ranch). Later, Dyer and L. C. Coleman established what became the Shoe Bar Ranch on the Red River in Hall County. When Dodge City opened as a cattle market, Dyer trailed the first JA herd there. When Donley County was organized in 1882, he was designated a commissioner. He was also active in the Panhandle Stock Association. After Goodnight bought the Quitaque (Lazy F) Ranch, Dyer was appointed its manager. In 1883 he married Willimena Cantelou of Weatherford. A few years later he turned the management of the Quitaque over to Walter and established his own ranch on Mulberry Creek in Armstrong County. Dyer was known as a superb and humane breeder of horses. In the 1890s he and his wife sold the Mulberry Creek Ranch and, with Molly Goodnight, purchased several tracts west of the Goodnight community. The Dyers had two children. Dyer died on May 4, 1902, at his home near Goodnight and was buried at Goodnight. A log ranchhouse that he and his brother Walter built in 1877, later the T Anchor headquarters, is now on the grounds of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon. It is the oldest extant in the Panhandle.

J. Evetts Haley, Charles Goodnight (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1949). C. Boone McClure, "A Review of the T Anchor Ranch," Panhandle-Plains Historical Review 3 (1930). Pauline D. and R. L. Robertson, Cowman's Country: Fifty Frontier Ranches in the Texas Panhandle, 1876–1887 (Amarillo: Paramount, 1981).


  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

H. Allen Anderson, “Dyer, Leigh Richmond,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 20, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/dyer-leigh-richmond.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 3, 2019